Amer J Perinatol 2017; 34(14): 1382-1388
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1604244
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Melatonin and Neonatal Sepsis: A Promising Antioxidant Adjuvant Agent

Gabriella D'Angelo1, Lucia Marseglia1, Russel J. Reiter2, Giuseppe Buonocore3, Eloisa Gitto1
  • 1Department of Human Pathology in Adult and Developmental Age, University of Messina, Messina, Italy
  • 2Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas
  • 3Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine, University of Siena, Siena, Italy
Further Information

Publication History

28 April 2017

08 June 2017

Publication Date:
13 July 2017 (eFirst)


Sepsis represents a major clinical problem in neonatal setting with elevated mortality rate related to multiple organ failure. Despite decades of research, the exact mechanism of organ failure in sepsis is still not completely understood. Oxidative stress (OS), derived from an imbalance between pro-oxidant and antioxidant factors, is involved in the pathogenesis of several neonatal diseases, including sepsis, and plays a particular role in systemic organ failure. Recently, it has been recognized that administration of antioxidants could be useful in septic patients. Among all antioxidants, melatonin has a characteristic role as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic agent. In combination with other interventions, melatonin may contribute to an improvement in septic organ injury. Furthermore, melatonin has already been widely used in treating various diseases of neonatal population, including asphyxia, respiratory distress, and sepsis, and no significant toxicity or treatment-related side effects with long-term melatonin therapy have been reported. This review aims to summarize current knowledge concerning the potential beneficial role of melatonin in septic neonates, supporting its short-term adjuvant co-therapy to reduce complications during neonatal sepsis.


As a review article, no research ethics application is required.